EditorsNote: Corrects to full-name first reference Jose Bautista, remove later full name reference
Anthony Rendon hit two homers Thursday night, though it was Bryce Harper’s two-run shot in the seventh inning that proved to be the difference as the Washington Nationals earned a 5-4 win over the New York Mets in the opener of a four-game series at Citi Field.
The Nationals have won five of eight. The Mets have lost five of seven and 33 of their last 45.
Washington never trailed Thursday, as Rendon’s two-run homer in the first gave Max Scherzer the lead before he even took the mound.
Rendon hit a solo homer in the third and singled in the seventh. The multi-homer gamer was the fourth of his career.
Rookie sensation Juan Soto added two hits.
Scherzer (12-5), who will likely start the All-Star Game for the National League on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., earned the win after allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five over seven innings.
Harper’s homer proved to be much-needed insurance when Kevin Plawecki homered with two outs in the seventh off Scherzer and Asdrubal Cabrera homered with one out in the eighth off Kelvin Herrera.
The Mets threatened following Cabrera’s homer, when Jose Bautista and Michael Conforto drew walks off Herrera. But Herrera escaped the jam by retiring Wilmer Flores on a popup and striking out Matt den Dekker.
Ryan Madson allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth but got pinch hitter Amed Rosario to hit into a game-ending double play to earn his fourth save
Bautista had an RBI single in the first and a solo homer in the fourth for the Mets. Cabrera, Bautista and Plawecki had two hits apiece for New York.
Steven Matz (4-7) took the loss after allowing three runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out four over 6 1/3 innings.
—Field Level Media